Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Future Oil Wars

More and more the main world rivals of the United States are forming dangerous military alliances against the U.S. What these main rivals all have in common is a strong connection to oil. Erratic Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday sought to form a new military alliance with Russia, while Russia stopped a little short of the full wishes of Chavez, the two rivals of the U.S. did pledge a strong economic alliance, but you know that a steady pipeline of military hardware will also follow and back this up. Having oil and immense oil wealth is no good unless you can protect yourself from any American threat, real or imagined. And billions of dollars in oil income will also buy plenty of arms such as combat aircraft, missiles and submarines.

Another main rival power of the U.S. is Iran, which has used the U.S. invasion of Iraq to help to justify their drive to develop nuclear weapons to deter any U.S. invasion like what happened in Iraq. But Iran, like both Russia and Venezuela have all made handsome profits by the type of military activity of the U.S. in Iraq and the resulting insurgent war that has only driven up oil prices to record levels and created a whole new class of Russian, Iranian and Venezuelan oil billionaires.

Increasingly, these world power rivals of the U.S., all united by oil will draw in other antiU.S. states and create a dangerous axis of antiAmerican oil powers and states that hate the U.S. And as oil prices still hover near record levels, the amount of vast income generated will only help to fuel the purchase or building of new and more dangerous military hardware by these antiAmerican oil states.

There is a long history of both American and British involvement in oil rich nations to justify in the minds of these antiAmerican nations their right to build up a huge defensive miltary force to deter the U.S. from attack.

In 1916, the French and British wrote up a secret agreement known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement which would allow for their occupation of parts of the Turkish Ottoman Empire after their defeat in WWI. By 1920, the League Of Nations gave their blessing to a British occupation of land in the Mideast that included huge undiscovered oil reserves. This artificial British oil occupation state which included rival Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish religious sects with nothing in common became known as the state of "Iraq". While France maintained control of some parts of Northern Iraq, Britain controlled the main oil producing portion of Iraq in the Southern part of the country. But antiBritish violence soon spiraled out of control and Britain sided with Sunni elements in an effort to divide and conquer and control the violence among the Shiite sects. Britain used to mustard gas or use mechanized warfare to destroy entire Shiite villages in an attempt to control the oil wealth of Iraq. But with the growth of Arab Socialism in the Mideast and the rise of the Baathist movement in the 1950's such as that could be found in Egypt with Gamal Nasser or in Syria, rebellion in Iraq against the British oil occupation only grew, and by 1958 Britain left Iraq after the rebellion reached new violence levels there. Before that, the 1956 Suez Canal crisis with Egypt really helped to cement an antiWestern alliance of Arab states and really helped to spell the end to any French or British oil occupations in the region. The United States was politically unable to offer aid the British, French or Israeli forces after Nasser declared the Suez Canal as nationalized, because the Americans were attempting to stand in political opposition to any Soviet crackdown on the Hungarian uprising of 1956, leaving the weaker British, French and Israeli elements to fend off Arab nationalist elements armed with weapons purchased from Warsaw bloc states. At this same time, Nasser also helped to arm his Baathist supporters in Syria and Jordan as well with Warsaw bloc weapons to resist Western occupation in the region.

As early as 1901, William Knox D'Arcy, who formed what would eventually become the British Petroleum Company had a special agreement with the Shah of Iran to pursue oil discovery in Iran. In fact, BP was actually known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and then the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, before it eventually settled on the modern BP name. The last Shah of Iran, before the 1979 Islamic revolution was actually placed in power by allied interests during WWII in 1941. In 1952-53, the American CIA worked with the British to bring down the Prime Minister of Iran after the oil industry was nationalized and the forerunner of BP, The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was concerned about loss of oil income to Britain. Oil economics always played a major role for American and British meddling in Iran's internal politics.

Even the modern Iraq War was little more than some cover for an American and British oil occupation of this state to develop more oil assets as Iraq is thought to have the world's biggest supply of undiscovered oil assets of any nation in the world. With up to 225 billion barrels of undiscovered oil expected to exist in Iraq, this is equal to a 98 year supply of oil for the U.S. While the British owned BP and Shell were able to conduct some secret talks with Saddam Hussein over oil control in Iraq, American oil companies such as Exxon and Chevron were banking on the American government to use some sort of military action to remove Saddam Hussein so that they could gain control of Iraqi oil which is both cheaper and easier to obtain than oil in many other parts of the world. In fact, even in Saudi Arabia millions of barrels of sea water must be pumped in each day in order to raise the level of the oil to the surface for capture that equals just pre1977 levels. Oil is getting harder and more expensive to capture, where increasingly water, air or gas injection is used to raise the levels up for capture after the peak oil level was hit in about 1977 and oil became harder to capture to match previous output levels.

When the Bush Administration came into power in January 2001, 43 members of this Administration had oil industry ties, and 33 members were connected to defense contractors. In fact, the first Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force under Bush were all representatives of military contractors as well for the first time in American history. This Administration was absolutely built on finding any premise whatsoever to go to war in Iraq and to control the oil assets there in a manner not unlike the many years of British colonial rule in the region.

The modern problem for the United States is that some rival oil states such as Russia, Venezuela, Mexico and Iran have more recently emerged as some of the world's most powerful oil interests compared to the past power of Exxon and Chevron or the British BP or Shell. And these oil rivals of the U.S. are also forming military alliances as well. The next big war will likely be over oil. If some hawkish president like a John McCain would attack Iran over it's nuclear program, Russia may have to side with Iran in such a conflict creating a wider and more dangerous war. The fact of the matter is that Russia, Venezuela and Iran do not need to sell their oil to the U.S. or Britain, so a war for world oil control with these countries does not really matter to them. There are rapidly emerging oil markets to be tapped in China and India, as well as growth in Asia and elsewhere. In fact a badly nuclear damaged United States with millions killed and most industry destroyed would probably only benefit these oil rival nations as long as most of their oil supplies remained undamaged and selling at even higher prices worldwide to a post WWIII world. The past principles of nuclear deterrence may not prevent these new oil rivals from going to war if they believe that enough of their oil industry can survive a conflict to corner the market after a war. In Russia, Mexico, Iran and Venezuela only a small oligarchy of persons control much of the oil wealth in these nations, so as long as they survive and most of their oil assets do, than war is no real deterrence to their ambitions.

The colonial wars to control oil assets of the past are only a preview of some possible shocking future wars for world oil control with states with nuclear weapons using any force they deem necessary to protect their oil wealth and markets. It is indeed a grave new world out there.


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